By Mike Pettinella
For someone in recovery, every sober day is cause for celebration.
Still, it’s only fitting that the nation sets apart a time to honor those fighting their way back from substance use disorder and mental illness.
“Although every day at The Recovery Station we focus on recovery, Recovery Month is the time to recognize and celebrate the gains made by those men and women who have not given up or given in,” said Harry Rascoe, (photo at right), who recently was hired by Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse as coordinator of the social event center on Clinton Street Road.
Rascoe and his staff have put together some special events that highlight their support of new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedicated service providers and community members who help make recovery in all of its forms possible.
Additionally, the Genesee County Legislature will be issuing proclamations on Sept. 14 in commemoration of Recovery Awareness Month and Suicide Prevention Month (which also is in September).
The agency’s activities through The Recovery Station include fishing trips to Medina and the DeWitt Recreation Area in Batavia; visits to Genesee County Park, Stony Brook State Park, Hamlin Beach State Park and Niagara Falls State Park, roller skating in Buffalo; shopping trips, and health and fitness group sessions.
On Sept. 13, the “Give Me S’more Recovery” event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and on Sept. 27, Speaker Jam – featuring stories of hope by people in recovery – is set for 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Other activities during the month (and just about every month at The Recovery Station) include CORE education and work goal setting, creative writing in recovery, guided yoga, open art classes, karaoke night, spirituality in recovery, and open men’s and women’s groups.
Rascoe, 35, a native of Plattsburgh, said his plan is to expand the center’s focus on physical fitness and wellness while increasing the public’s awareness of The Recovery Station, which is located at the former Bohn’s Restaurant.
“What I’m finding is the biggest issue thus far is that a lot of Batavians don’t even know that we exist,” said Rascoe, a former Marine who did a combat tour in Afghanistan. “We’re looking to make connections with as many agencies and groups as possible to let people know that we’re here for them when they’re ready to start their road to recovery.”
An alcohol and substance use counselor for several years, Rascoe is a proponent of adventure-based counseling where those in recovery are encouraged to “connect with nature” through hiking, kayaking and similar experiences.
“Health and fitness is so important,” said Rascoe, who earned an associate’s degree in Human Services from Genesee Community College before taking counseling positions in Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh. “I am hoping to be able to upgrade our gym and camping equipment and establish some peer-led groups along the lines of what is happening at ROCovery Fitness in Rochester.”
Rascoe also said plans include conducting Narcotics Anonymous meetings on Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (starting Sept. 12) and possibly opening the center on Sundays for people to watch the Buffalo Bills’ games in a sober environment.
“We’re doing a lot now but there’s so much more that can be done,” he said. “With the support of the community and staff, the future here is bright.”
Now residing in Elba, Rascoe is engaged to Tara Sweet and has three children. He is active in the community as a youth football and baseball coach and co-director of an adult flag football league.